How Executives Can Stand Out In a Tight Talent Market

It’s no secret that the tightening labor market has caused fierce competition for job seekers, especially for executive-level candidates. While a candidate may be searching for career growth, the ideal scenario is combining that growth with a natural fit between the new company and its needs.

When an opening emerges at the executive or C-suite level, recruiters and hiring managers look for experienced, seasoned professionals. It’s important for candidates to demonstrate capabilities and to act fast.

While some candidates may not be accustomed to the “new normal” of the hiring process in the everevolving (albeit shrinking) market — at least at this level – it’s possible to get ahead by following a few simple steps:


At the executive level, it’s essential to know how the qualifications one brings to a company will support that business’ needs. A top priority for an applicant should be to prove how experience from previous roles and past responsibilities can and will align with the leadership style recruiters and interviewers are seeking.

Landing a position in a leadership role can be a challenge, with many candidates holding similar qualifications. Being transparent with one’s experience and limitations can speed the hiring process.

Fresh perspective

Take this opportunity to showcase why having a fresh set of eyes can help not only in operations but also in building and/or expanding company culture and processes.

While companies often defer to hiring internal candidates with whom they’re already familiar, there is a prime opportunity for external candidates to establish their years of experience and superior knowledge in areas such as emerging technology.

Demonstrating the ability to communicate and execute upon a vision within a new company’s culture can be the sign of a remarkable leader.

Personal interest

Finally, candidates should take the time to demonstrate why they are right for the job. This may seem like a no-brainer, but in most executive-level hires, the candidate is often so focused on the job title, the offer and the company culture that they forget to showcase their personal goals and how those align with the company’s goals.

It’s important for job seekers to stick to the basics and interview the company just as much as they’re being interviewed. This should, of course, serve as a guideline for positions from entry-level all the way to the Csuite.

An executive-level job search can be a long process with numerous stakeholders and interviews. A company has a culture to protect, and a candidate has specific goals. Candidates should be honest, open and patient to make sure there is a great fit between the candidate’s needs, the position’s requirements and the company’s culture.

When that fit emerges, the combination should result in a win-win for the candidate and the company.

Kristin Lockhart is vice president of Recruiting Services at Memphis-based Adams Keegan.

This article originally appeared in Memphis Business Journal.